How to Implement rel=“author” for Enhanced Search Results

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Last year Google launched its authorship program which allows authors to enhance their listings in search results by using the rel=“author” markup code. In this post, I’m going to walk you through exactly how to implement rel=“author.” But first let me answer the question, “Why would I want to do this?”

Here are five potential benefits of implementing rel=“author”:

  1. Your posts will now include a picture of you in search results.
  2. Searchers can click your name next to your image and view your posts on Google+.
  3. Google may also display information like your circle count on Google+.
  4. People are more likely to click on results that have author images next to them.
  5. In some cases, searchers can add you to their Google+ circles and comment on your Google+ posts directly from the search results page.

How to implement rel=author

For single-author blogs and websites the easiest way to implement rel=“author” is to insert the author markup through a link element in the header on your site and then link to your site from your Google+ profile. Here’s how to do just that.

Step 1: Insert Link Into Header of Your Website

Insert the following link into the head section of your websites code:

<a rel=”author” href=”“/>

The highlighted section is where you insert your Google+ profile ID. The above example is my profile so make sure to change it.

Step 2: Add the Name and URL to Your Google+ Profile

Of course this will only work if you already have a Google+ profile setup. If you don’t, then go ahead and setup a profile first. Then add the name and complete URL of the blog or website you wish to claim authorship for in the Contributor section of your profile.

To locate the Contributor section of your profile follow these steps once logged into Google+:

  1. Click the Profile button underneath the Home button on the left-hand side of the screen.
  2. Next, click the blue Edit profile button.
  3. Scroll down and click the Contributor to section of your profile.
  4. Click Add custom link and type in the name and home page URL of your site.

Step 3: Confirm It’s Working

The next step is to confirm it’s working. In order to do that use the rich snippet testing tool. After you type in your URL Google will tell you if the authorship markup code is working or not. It should look like this:

Rich Snippets Testing Tool

Step 4: Wait

The next step is to wait. It can take 2-3 weeks or sometimes even longer for your profile picture to show up in the search results. Once it does it should look like this. The picture may not always appear next to the search results in all searches.

Multi-Author Blogs/Websites

If you manage a blog or site with multiple authors there are a couple more steps you’ll need to take. First, if your author bylines link to individual author bio pages then you’ll need to configure the link to the author bio page using a variation of the rel=“author” attribute called rel=“me”.

If your site does not have individual author bio pages then you would simply follow the same steps for single-author blogs and sites and insert a link to the author’s Google+ profile anywhere in the article (i.e. in the footer or author bio at the end of the article). Below is an example of the code you could use to insert in each blog post or as part of an author box that appears with each blog. You would need to replace the highlighted areas with your code and name.

<p>By <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Kevin Getch</a></p>

Alternative Method: Email Verification

For people who are not very tech-savvy, Google has provided an alternative way to establish authorship of your content using an email address on your domain. In order to do this simply visit this page and follow the four steps outlined there.

While this method is certainly easier, Google still suggests that it’s better to use the rel=“author” markup code to verify authorship.

And here are two videos below featuring Google’s Othar Hansson and Matt Cutts who walk you through all of the steps you need to implement rel=”author” on your blog or website.

If you’re implementing Google+ Authorship on a WordPress blog Joost De Valk has added the functionality to his WordPress SEO plugin. He discusses it here. We’re considering developing a Google authorship extension for Joomla, but for now you can manually edit the code to insert the Google+ profile link. There is a good forum thread on implementing authorship on Joomla here. Also AJ Kohn has written a comprehensive post about implementing Google Authorship that you should read.

Let me know if it works for you or if you have any other tips or tricks.

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